Sunday, March 2, 2014

Flowing into Florida

This morning we woke up to four inches of snow which we proceeded to head outside to shovel.  Again.  Half way through I slipped on a patch of ice and landed directly on my very sparingly padded tailbone.  I would normally consider myself fairly tough, but I'm not ashamed to admit I was in tears.  I love living in Michigan but I am so over this winter.

So it seems only fitting that this week we're celebrating Florida!  For about ten minutes after it happened I highly considered throwing the whole family in the car, driving down to Palm Bay, kicking the renters out of our house down there and actually celebrating Florida IN Florida this week.  I mean, it's educational, right?  It would be worth pulling them out of school for I'm thinking.  We could all use a few days in The Sunshine State!

Alright, probably not practical.  So instead we'll settle for celebrating all the great things Florida has to offer from here in snowy Michigan this week.  As I mentioned yesterday this week is kind of crazy so we decided to say farewell to Delaware and dive into Florida a day early.  If you're not familiar with the history of the Gatchel's, you may not know we actually lived there for five years.  (Want to see some of our adventures? Check it out here) so the kiddos are at least a little familiar with the state.  (Noah was three, Kayla was not quite two when we moved)  I had a lot of fun reminiscing on some of the fine things that make Florida special.  We talked all about the Florida Keys, the history of the state in St. Augustine, the awesome launches we got to see at Cape Canaveral, and of course, the plethora of amusement parks Florida has.  Did you know Orlando is the most visited tourist destination in the world?  We'll be touching on lots of these things over the week, so stay tuned!

I also decided to dive right into the culinary delights of Florida.  From southern favorites in the panhandle to Cuban delights in Miami and plenty of seafood options in the Keys, I was overrun with choices!  Couple that with oranges, strawberries and of course, key limes and my head started to spin.  I decided to try out a Cuban recipe tonight with some Easy Cuban Picadillo.  My research turned up the fact that over 1/2 of the Cuban population in the entire US resides in one County (Miami-Dade) in Florida!  There were plenty of Cuban dishes to chose from (you'll see a Cuban dessert later in the week) but this seemed like something my whole crew could get on board with.  And they did!  For dessert I asked Grant to narrow down the possibilities and he chose a Florida Orange Cake (don't worry, homemade key lime pie IS coming this week!).  Noah helped me make the cake this morning that seemed to bring a little bit of sunshine into the kitchen with just the smell of it.

So maybe by talking about it and eating enough food from there, Michigan will follow Florida's lead and bring us some warmer weather here soon.  We can only hope!  In the meantime, stay tuned this week for lots of fun Florida reminiscing (the prep for this week has definitely left me a bit nostalgic) and fun.  I'll try to get up a post tomorrow, but no promises.  The mail that we are getting this week is SO COOL, though, so make sure you check back on Tuesday for sure.  Plus Tuesday is packzi day!  And Kayla and Grant are going maple syruping :)  Should be quite the week.  So until then...

Florida Fun Fact of the Day: In 1987 the Florida legislature designated the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) the official state reptile. Long an unofficial symbol of the state, the alligator originally symbolized Florida's extensive untamed wilderness and swamps.

Delaware's scrapbook page

My favorite five year old and his sidekick, Lucky, ready to help me make the cake

The slippers totally make this picture

Our finished Orange Cake

Can't celebrate Florida without orange juice

Cuban Picadillo

Our very moist and delicious orange cake

Checking out the Florida Keys on the map

Our Florida Wall

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